THE AFRICA COLLECTION at the Penn Museum includes objects that were purchased by or gifted to the Museum or collected on ethnographic expeditions, primarily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As was common practice at the time, most pieces were acquired by wealthy travelers or European art and antiquities dealers and later sold to institutions around the world. One of the goals in creating our new Africa Galleries was to place the objects in our care in context. Why, where, and how was each object made? How was it used in daily life, on special occasions, or in religious ceremonies? What made this object meaningful to the culture that produced it? Were other objects displayed with it? This is the type of information that we provide when it is known. It was not easy to select just 15 of the 300 or so objects that are on display in the new Galleries, as there are many stories to tell. We hope this small selection encourages you to visit the Museum to learn more about these wonderful objects and their histories.
A Selection of Objects from Our Africa Galleries
Originally Published in 2019